Risk Analysis: What you need to know

Whether you’ve been helping your organization work on its HIPAA compliance or dealing with financial regulations or government contracts, performing a risk analysis should be a high-priority item on your business’s to-do list.

You’ve likely heard of a risk analysis. Hopefully, you’ve also performed one for your organization. Whether you’ve been helping your organization work on its HIPAA compliance or dealing with financial regulations or government contracts, performing a risk analysis should be a high-priority item on your business’s to-do list.

So, what exactly is a risk analysis? A risk analysis, also known as a risk assessment, is used to help your organization identify any areas within your organization that could affect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of critical data.

There is no one-size-fits-all method for addressing risk analysis

All organizations have unique characteristics and environments. The methodology for organizations may vary depending on their size, complexity, and capabilities.

How often do you perform a risk analysis?

Risk analysis should be an ongoing process. In the very least, we recommend conducting a risk analysis on an annual basis as well as anytime the organization introduces new technology, changes practices, or suffers a security incident. Government and industry regulations may require more scrutiny.

Once your organization has conducted a risk analysis, that doesn’t mean the work is done. The outcome of the analysis will show you where there are vulnerabilities in your organization that could pose a risk to your data – and then it’s up to your organization to fix them.  We recommend working with a vendor to help with a remediation plan that will prioritize issues with the most risk.

Failure to conduct a risk analysis

If your organization falls under an audit, you must be able to prove that your organization has conducted a thorough, enterprise-wide risk analysis. Not only will you need to show that proof, but you’ll also need to show that you’ve identified security gaps and implemented a plan to address them.

Furthermore, cybercrime is rampant. A risk analysis is an important tool to identify security gaps that could be used by cybercriminals to get into your network and compromise your sensitive company data.

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Tracy Hardin

Tracy Hardin

Tracy Hardin is President and founder of Next Century Technologies in Lexington, KY. She has a bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Kentucky and has earned certifications from Novell, Cisco and CompTIA. Her specialties in the field of IT are network design and security, project management and improving productivity through technology. She loves helping people by sharing her knowledge of tech.

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